This past Sunday's Gospel reading was from Mark 10:46-52, wherein Jesus restores the sight of Bartimaeus, a blind man, on the outskirts of Jericho. I'd like to focus on just two of the many treasures in this short passage: the man's desire to be cured of his blindness, and what the man did afterwards.
The blind man was begging when the crowd came by (Mark 10:46), probably for money or food, which he was far more likely to receive than a cure. As such, the blind man, a beggar, was dependent on the pity of the passersby for his survival. But when he learns that Jesus is in the crowd, he asks Jesus for his pity, not in the form of money or food, but vision. "So what?" you ask. "Of course he wanted to see, he was blind." But consider that, once freed from his blindness, begging would no longer "work" for him; he would have to work for his wages and his food and his survival. We have a tendency to turn our disabilities, our failings, and our misfortunes into crutches. This man must have realized that in asking for his sight, he would no longer have such a crutch. And yet he had the faith to ask for his vision, not money or food.
And then, as he cured the man, Jesus told him, "Go your way, your faith has saved you." What was the man's response? To go Jesus's way (Mark 10:52). The way of Jesus became the way of Bartimaeus: he followed Jesus on the way. Where was Jesus headed? To Jerusalem Mark 11:1-11 and the end of his earthly ministry.
What can we learn from Bartimaeus? Once our faith has saved us and our blindness has been cured, we are no longer beggars: we must take an active part in our new life. Once our faith has saved us and we go our way, we must make Jesus's way our way.